CAT 2021 Slot 1


The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

We cannot travel outside our neighbourhood without passports. We must wear the same plain clothes. We must exchange our houses every ten years. We cannot avoid labour. We all go to bed at the same time . . . We have religious freedom, but we cannot deny that the soul dies with the body, since ‚Äėbut for the fear of punishment, they would have nothing but contempt for the laws and customs of society'. . . . In More‚Äôs time, for much of the population, given the plenty and security on offer, such restraints would not have seemed overly unreasonable. For modern readers, however, Utopia appears to rely upon relentless transparency, the repression of variety, and the curtailment of privacy. Utopia provides security: but at what price? In both its external and internal relations, indeed, it seems perilously dystopian.

Such a conclusion might be fortified by examining selectively the tradition which follows More on these points. This often portrays societies where . . . 'it would be almost impossible for¬†man to be depraved, or wicked'. . . . This is achieved both through institutions and mores, which underpin the common life. . . . The passions are regulated and inequalities of wealth and distinction are minimized. Needs, vanity, and emulation are restrained, often by prizing equality and holding riches in contempt. The desire for public power is curbed. Marriage and sexual intercourse are often controlled: in Tommaso Campanella‚Äôs The City of the Sun (1623), the first great literary utopia after More‚Äôs, relations are forbidden to men before the age of twenty-one and women before nineteen. Communal child-rearing is normal; for Campanella, this commences at age two. Greater simplicity of life, ‚Äėliving according to nature‚Äô, is often a¬†result: the desire for simplicity and purity are closely related. People become more alike in appearance, opinion, and outlook than they often have been. Unity, order, and homogeneity¬†thus prevail at the cost of individuality and diversity. This model, as J. C. Davis demonstrates, dominated early modern utopianism. . . . And utopian homogeneity remains a familiar theme¬†well into the twentieth century.

Given these considerations, it is not unreasonable to take as our starting point here the hypothesis that utopia and dystopia evidently share more in common than is often supposed. Indeed, they might be twins, the progeny of the same parents. Insofar as this proves to be the case, my linkage of both here will be uncomfortably close for some readers. Yet we should not mistake this argument for the assertion that all utopias are, or tend to produce, dystopias. Those who defend this proposition will find that their association here is not nearly close enough. For we have only to acknowledge the existence of thousands of successful intentional communities in which a cooperative ethos predominates and where harmony without coercion is the rule to set aside such an assertion. Here the individual’s submersion in the group is consensual (though this concept is not unproblematic). It results not in enslavement but voluntary submission to group norms. Harmony is achieved without . . . harming others.

Question 1

Following from the passage, which one of the following may be seen as a characteristic of a utopian society?

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Question 2

All of the following arguments are made in the passage EXCEPT that:

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Question 3

Which sequence of words below best captures the narrative of the passage?

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Question 4

All of the following statements can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT that:

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The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

For the Maya of the Classic period, who lived in Southern Mexico and Central America between 250 and 900 CE, the category of ‚Äėpersons‚Äô was not coincident with human beings, as it is for us. That is, human beings were persons - but other, nonhuman entities could be persons, too. . . . In order to explore the slippage of categories between ‚Äėhumans‚Äô and ‚Äėpersons‚Äô, I examined a very specific category of ancient Maya images, found painted in scenes on ceramic vessels. I sought out instances in which faces (some combination of eyes, nose, and mouth) are shown on inanimate objects. . . . Consider my iPhone, which needs to be fed with electricity every night, swaddled in a protective bumper, and enjoys communicating with other fellow-phone-beings. Does it have personhood (if at all) because it is connected to me, drawing this resource from me as an owner or source? For the Maya (who did have plenty of other communicating objects, if not smartphones), the answer was no. Nonhuman persons were not tethered to specific humans, and they did not derive their personhood from a connection with a human. . . . It‚Äôs a profoundly democratising way of understanding the world. Humans are not more important persons - we are just one of many kinds of persons who inhabit this world. . . .

The Maya saw personhood as ‚Äėactivated‚Äô by experiencing certain bodily needs and through participation in certain social activities. For example, among the faced objects that I examined, persons are marked by personal requirements (such as hunger, tiredness, physical¬†closeness), and by community obligations (communication, interaction, ritual observance). In the images I examined, we see, for instance, faced objects being cradled in humans‚Äô arms; we also see them speaking to humans. These core elements of personhood are both turned inward, what the body or self of a person requires, and outward, what a community expects of the persons who are a part of it, underlining the reciprocal nature of community membership. .

Personhood was a nonbinary proposition for the Maya. Entities were able to be persons while also being something else. The faced objects I looked at indicate that they continue to be functional, doing what objects do (a stone implement continues to chop, an incense burner continues to do its smoky work). Furthermore, the Maya visually depicted many objects in ways that indicated the material category to which they belonged - drawings of the stone implement show that a person-tool is still made of stone. One additional complexity: the incense burner (which would have been made of clay, and decorated with spiky appliques representing the sacred ceiba tree found in this region) is categorised as a person - but also as a tree. With these Maya examples, we are challenged to discard the person/nonperson binary that constitutes our basic ontological outlook. . . . The porousness of boundaries that we have seen in the Maya world points towards the possibility of living with a certain uncategorisability of the world.

Question 5

Which one of the following, if true about the Classic Maya, would invalidate the purpose of the iPhone example in the passage?

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Question 6

Which one of the following best explains the ‚Äúadditional complexity‚ÄĚ that the example of the incense burner illustrates regarding personhood for the Classic Maya?

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Question 7

On the basis of the passage, which one of the following worldviews can be inferred to be closest to that of the Classic Maya?

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Question 8

Which one of the following, if true, would not undermine the democratising potential of the Classic Maya worldview?

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The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

The sleights of hand that conflate consumption with virtue are a central theme in A Thirst for Empire, a sweeping and richly detailed history of tea by the historian Erika Rappaport. How¬†did tea evolve from an obscure ‚ÄúChina drink‚ÄĚ to a universal beverage imbued with civilising properties? The answer, in brief, revolves around this conflation, not only by profit-motivated¬†marketers but by a wide variety of interest groups. While abundant historical records have allowed the study of how tea itself moved from east to west, Rappaport is focused on the movement of the idea of tea to suit particular purposes.

Beginning in the 1700s, the temperance movement advocated for tea as a pleasure that cheered but did not inebriate, and industrialists soon borrowed this moral argument in advancing their case for free trade in tea (and hence more open markets for their textiles). Factory owners joined in, compelled by the cause of a sober workforce, while Christian missionaries discovered that tea ‚Äúwould soothe any colonial encounter‚ÄĚ. During the Second World War, tea service was presented as a social and patriotic activity that uplifted soldiers and calmed refugees.

But it was tea‚Äôs consumer-directed marketing by importers and retailers - and later by brands - that most closely portends current trade debates. An early version of the ‚Äúfarm to table‚Ä̬†movement was sparked by anti-Chinese sentiment and concerns over trade deficits, as well as by the reality and threat of adulterated tea containing dirt and hedge clippings. Lipton was¬†soon advertising ‚Äúfrom the Garden to Tea Cup‚ÄĚ supply chains originating in British India and supervised by ‚Äúeducated Englishmen‚ÄĚ. While tea marketing always presented direct consumer¬†benefits (health, energy, relaxation), tea drinkers were also assured that they were participating in a larger noble project that advanced the causes of family, nation and civilization. . . .

Rappaport‚Äôs treatment of her subject is refreshingly apolitical. Indeed, it is a virtue that readers will be unable to guess her political orientation: both the miracle of markets and¬†capitalism‚Äôs dark underbelly are evident in tea‚Äôs complex story, as are the complicated effects of British colonialism. . . . Commodity histories are now themselves commodities: recent¬†works investigate cotton, salt, cod, sugar, chocolate, paper and milk. And morality marketing is now a commodity as well, applied to food, ‚Äúfair trade‚ÄĚ apparel and eco-tourism. Yet tea is,¬†Rappaport makes clear, a world apart - an astonishing success story in which tea marketers not only succeeded in conveying a sense of moral elevation to the consumer but also¬†arguably did advance the cause of civilisation and community.

I have been offered tea at a British garden party, a Bedouin campfire, a Turkish carpet shop and a Japanese chashitsu, to name a few settings. In each case the offering was more an idea - friendship, community, respect - than a drink, and in each case the idea then created a reality. It is not a stretch to say that tea marketers have advanced the particularly noble cause of human dialogue and friendship.

Question 9

Today, ‚Äúconflat[ing] consumption with virtue‚ÄĚ can be seen in the marketing of:

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Question 10

The author of this book review is LEAST likely to support the view that:

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